Northern Ohio Fishing Report: Water levels drop, fishing improves

Walleye, saugeye, bass, cats all hitting

CLEVELAND - The water is dropping slowly on streams and lakes around the state, making them more fishable. On Lake Erie the mud line continues to be a problem to the west, but it's clearing in the east. The good news is that fishing continues to be good despite the fluctuating water levels and conditions. 

Let's take a look at what's biting around the Buckeye State:

Lake Erie

In the western basin, first it was the rain and now it's the heat.  That heat means things have slowed down for the Port Clinton headboat fleet.  Mark at Fisherman's Wharf in  Port Clinton says the drifters are working hard for their walleye.  There have been a lot of throwbacks, not a lot of keepers.  The boats are fishing  north and west of the Bass Islands all the way up to the Canadian border.  Gold has been the "go to" color for the casters.  Trollers have had slightly better success.  They're catching fish near West Sister pulling spoons.  Purple, pink, and chartreuse have been the colors that are working best. Some yellow perch are being taken, but not of any size.

Further east in the central basin, Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters tells us the mud line is holding in some places, especially near Lorain.  That's forced many anglers north of the bar.  Walleye are hitting nightcrawler harnesses and Reef Runners in 42 feet of water from Sheffield Lake to Avon Lake.  Craig says the yellow perch fishing is among the best he's ever seen. The area just out from the stacks in Avon Lake in 41 feet of water has been producing limit catches.   Emerald shiners are the bait of choice.

Off of Cleveland, the yellow perch bite is on.  The folks at Shine's report good catches are being made on emerald shiners in 41 to 44 feet of water off of First Energy Stadium, E. 72 nd Street, and Bratenahl.   Some yellow perch are being taken off the breakwalls, as are white bass.  Smallmouth bass are being caught on tube jigs and crankbaits off the Burke Lakefront Airport Breakwall and the Outer Breakwall.  The walleye action off of Cleveland has been slow since the storms last week.

At Wildwood Captain Vitas reports excellent fishing for yellow perch, white perch, and white bass. He's been taking the Linda Mae out to 42 feet of water in front of Euclid Hospital. Water clarity has not been a problem. Emerald shiners on crappie rigs or spreaders will catch fish.

Don at Harbor Bait and Tackle in Fairport Harbor reports excellent yellow perch fishing in 43 feet of water.  The area just to the west of Fairport Harbor has been producing, though perch are being taken east to Ashtabula.  Emerald shiners fished on a crappie rig or spreader are the way to go.  The walleye bite has picked up from Fairport to Geneva, but you'll have to go way out.  The best fishing has been in the 74 foot range.  Spoons have been producing.  in orange and purple.  Some smallmouth bass are being taken in 17 feet of water east of Fairport.  Jigs and crayfish are the preferred baits.

 Portage Lakes

The water is still up slightly at this chain of lakes just south of Akron, but that hasn't slowed the bite for largemouth bass or channel catfish.  Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle tells us bass are hitting along the deep edges of weed beds and near the pilings at the Main Street Bridge that separates East Reservoir from Cottage Grove Lake.  Ron suggests using plastic worms in the four to six inch range.  Black, purple, and pumpkin have been the preferred colors.  Good numbers of largemouth are also being taken from Long Lake, Turkeyfoot Lake, and Rex Lake on soft plastics and spinner baits.  Channel cats are hammering almost anything you can throw at them.  The top lakes for the cats has been Rex Lake, Turkeyfoot Lake, East Reservoir, and North Reservoir.  Nightcrawlers have been the top bait, though chicken livers, cut bait, and dough baits will take fish.  Good numbers of large yellow perch have also turned up in East Reservoir and Turkeyfoot when you can find the schools.  They're hitting smaller crappie minnows.

Nimisila Reservoir

The channel catfish bite is excellent, right now at this impoundment in Green in southern Summit County.  Chicken livers, nightcrawlers, cut bait, and live bluegills will all take fish. The natural gas points and the dam area have been producing.  If you're fishing from shore, remember access to the natural gas points is limited because those areas have been fenced off.  Largemouth bass are taking topwater lures and soft plastics in the pad beds early.  Those fish move to drop-offs near weed beds and structure later in the day.  Some crappie are still being taken deep.  Panfish are everywhere and hitting worms, maggots, and waxworms.

West Branch

The water levels are getting back to normal at this reservoir east of Ravenna.  Mark at Mark's Bait and Tackle says the bite has slowed for walleye, but has picked up for just about everything else.  He reports good numbers of muskie being caught by trollers pulling large crankbaits over submerged structure and near the deep edges of weed beds.  Smallmouth bass are cooperating in deeper, rocky areas.  Tube jigs, crayfish imitations, and crayfish will catch them.  Largemouth are holding near  deep weed edges and shoreline structure.  Soft plastics, buzz baits, and spinner baits are your best bet for largemouth.  Catfish are everywhere and are aggressively hitting nightcrawlers and chicken livers.


The water is receding at Berlin.  We're told by the folks at Les's that levels are almost back to normal at this impoundment west of Youngstown is high.  Fair catches of walleye are being taken around the humps between the Route 224 Bridge and the railroad bridge.  Go deep with crawler harnesses or cranks like Flicker Shads.  White bass have also been cooperating.  Channel cats are hitting cut bait and nightcrawlers around the lake.  Largemouth bass are hitting topwater lures and soft plastics near shoreline structure early in the day and again at dusk.


There are reports that trollers pulling Flicker Shads on lead core line have been doing well for walleye early in the morning.  They are concentrating on the river channel from the I-76 Bridge to the causeway, and then back to the deep side of the mid lake shallows.  Good numbers of white bass are also being caught.  The largemouth bite has been good with fish hitting soft plastics, spinner baits, and cranks near submerged structure and along weed lines. Smallmouth can be caught on diving cranks, jigs, and live minnows fished around deeper structure and on the deeper sides of the mid-lake shallows.

Mosquito Creek

Kathy at Mosquito Lake Marina tells us good catches of largemouth bass are being made along weed beds. Soft plastics, spinner baits and buzz baits are catching fish.   Fish early morning, or at sundown. Catfish are cooperating all around the lake. Channel cats will take chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and cut bait. Live bluegills are the bait of choice for flatheads.

Further north at Causeway Sporting Goods, they're reporting some catches of crappie from the causeway on minnows or waxworms.  Decent numbers of yellow perch are being taken on minnows and nitro worms.  Fair catches of walleye are being made by trollers working the creek channel in 12 to 20 feet of water.  Some are using inline weights or bottom bouncers to get nightcrawler harnesses to the right depth, others are pulling deep diving crankbaits.


The folks at Duck and Drake say some walleye are being taken in deep water on the south side.  Drifting or trolling nightcrawler harnesses is the preferred method.  Good catches of yellow perch are being made south of the causeway on minnows fished deep.  Catfish are cooperating all around the lake on cut bait, chicken livers, and nightcrawlers.  Largemouth bass are being caught north of the causeway on the deep edges of weed beds.  Soft plastics, spinner baits, and minnow imitations will take fish.

Charles Mill & Pleasant Hill

The catfish action at Charles Mill is hot.  Good catches are being made around the lake and below the dam on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and dough baits.  Mifflin Lakes Trading Post reports wipers are also starting to hit.  The white bass/striped bass hybrids will take chicken livers, as well as spinners and blade baits.  Look for schools feeding on baitfish near the surface.  Some saugeye are being caught below the dam after dark.  Good catches of panfish are being made on maggots and red worms. 

Just to the south, the water is going down at Pleasant Hill.  The saugeye bite has slowed, though some are being caught by trollers putlling harnesses or diving cranks near the beach.  Some white bass are in the mix, too.  Channel cats are everywhere and hitting nightcrawlers and chicken livers.

Chippewa Lake

Chippewa Lake Bait and Tackle tells us the catfish are cooperating.  Chicken livers fished on the bottom will catch them.  Panfish are hitting everywhere around the lake on waxworms, maggots, and red worms.  One note: This lake gets a lot of pleasure boating traffic, so your best bet is to fish it early.

Cleveland Metro Parks

The Rocky River is still a little high. Use caution if you plan to fish it. Smallmouth bass will take tube jigs and small spinners.  Most of the Metro Parks lakes are providing good Panfish catches. Wallace Lake has been especially good..

Ohio River

Water levels are receding, thought it's still best to excercise caution. Red's in Columbiana tells us the sauger bite is picking up below the New Cumberland Dam. Fish are being taken on jigs or minnows fished on the bottom. Good numbers of channel cats, and some flathead cats, have been reported. Cut bait, shrimp, and live bluegills are the baits of choice.


Mogadore Bait and Tackle reports outstanding catches of largemouth bass at this Portage County impoundment. Soft plastics in black or purple have been the top producers. Also try frog or minnow imitations  in the weed beds.  Big bluegills and redears have moved deeper. Look for them in the seven to 10 foot range. They will take wax worms and maggots. The north end of the lake, and the Lansinger Road area have been best for the panfish.  Channel catfish are hitting all over the lake. Nightcrawlers and chicken livers will catch fish.


The water is almost back to normal levels.  Tappan Lake Marina tells us some saugeye are being caught.  Trolling nightcrawler harnesses near the sunken road bed near the marina has been productive.  Channel cats are cooperating.  Use chicken livers or cut bait to take the cats.  Some bass are being caught on soft plastics, jigs, or spinner baits fished near submerged structure and weed beds.

Atwood Lake

The water is still a little high, though some saugeye are being taken on nightcrawler harnesses fished deep.. Bass are being caught around submerged structure. Soft plastics, cranks, and spinner baits are preferred.  Channel Catfish are hitting well. They are taking chicken liver or cut bait everywhere in the lake.

Piedmont Reservoir

Water levels are close to normal and musky are cooperating.  Piedmont Lake Marina reports good numbers are being taken by trollers using large diving plugs near the dam.  Saugeye are cooperating in the same area.  They're  taking Flicker Shads, Rapalas, and nightcrawler harnesses.  Good catches of channel cats are being made around the lake on chicken livers and nightcrawlers.  A number of flathead cats have been reported.  Live bluegills, shiners, or shad fished around the marina bay, and in the upper end of the lake have produced fish.  Good catches of smallmouth bass are being made on deeper rocky points on crayfish and crayfish imitations.  Fair numbers of largemouth are being caugh near the deep edges of weed beds and near shoreline structure on soft plastics.

Tuscarawas River

The high water on the Tuscarawas is going down and many areas are fishable, again.  Above Long Lake, fair catches of yellow perch and panfish are being made.  Use nightcrawlers in the deeper pools.  The Lake Lucerne outflow near Canal Fulton is producing good catches of panfish, largemouth bass, and catfish.  The stretch from Canal Fulton to Dover is turning up fair catches of northern pike and good catches of smallmouth bass.  Use spoons, spinner baits, or jigs for both species.

Cuyahoga River

The Cuyahoga is fishable from Kent to the Gorge Dam below Cuyahoga Falls.  Gone Fishing Bait and Tackle in Cuyahoga Falls tells us northern pike are cooperating along that stretch.  Spoons, spinners, and live shiners are the preferred baits.   Smallmouth bass can be taken below the Gorge Dam on tube jigs, soft plastics, crayfish imitations, and crayfish.

Lake Hodgson

Good catches of panfish are coming from this Portage County Lake. Waxworms, maggots, and nightcrawlers will take fish. Work weed areas and structure in four to eight feet of water. The largemouth bite has been good in the morning. Spinner baits and soft plastics will produce.

Lake Rockwell

Mark at Mark's Bait and Tackle says the catfish bite remains vibrant at this water supply reservoir between Kent and Streetsboro. Channel cats are actively hitting nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken livers, and cut bait.  Mark says work the shoreline with soft plastics and topwater plugs for bass, however the northern pike bite has slowed.

Alum Creek

Water levels are near normal at this reservoir north of Columbus.  The saugeye bite remains strong.  That's the word from the folks at Cheshire Market in Galena.  Nightcrawlers drifted  near structure and drop-offs should produce.  Some crappie are being found near deeper structure.  Bass are taking jigs, soft plastics, and spinner baits near weed edges.  Channel cats are hitting chicken livers and nightcrawlers.

Hoover Reservoir

Good numbers of  saugeye have been caught, but many are undersize.  Minnows or nightcrawlers are the preferred bait. Some white bass are in the mix, too.   Catfish are cooperating on nightcrawlers and cut bait.

Sippo Lake

There are decent catches for Panfish from this Stark County Lake, though they are running small. If you are looking for a great place to introduce a child to the great sport of fishing, Sippo is a good location. It offers a nice fishing pier, boat rentals, a bait shop, and a snack bar. Bass, catfish, crappies, and white perch can also be caught.

Wingfoot Lake

Largemouth bass have been hitting well.  Fish soft plastics or minnow imitations near the weeds for them.  Big sunfish are being reported. They will take wax worms, maggots, and red worms. The fish can be found in five to eight feet of water.  Some yellow perch are being reported, as well.

Findley Lake

The panfish action at this lake near Wellington is fast, right now. Good numbers of fair sized bluegills are being made in four to eight feet of water on red worms. Some largemouth bass are also in the mix on soft plastics.

We Want To Hear From You

And, we want to remind you that you can submit photos of your fish catches. Go ahead, brag a little. We might post the photos or broadcast them on Good Morning Cleveland.   In fact, you can check out the photo sent to us by Teri Spangler in our photo section.  It shows her husband Scott and his friend Rick Leber holding up a huge walleye they caught last week near the Fairport Light.  And get this, they were fishing for perch when that big walleye took a minnow on a crappie rig.

Send those photos to We also welcome your fishing reports from you home waters, tips, suggestions, and even recipes that we can share. If any of you want to let us know how things are where you're fishing, feel free to email me at

You can also find me on My handle there is TopCat, and you can send me a personal message. You can also follow me on Twitter @gnoleff.

If there's a body of water you fish, and we're not covering it, let us know and we'll keep you informed about the latest conditions there. Plus, feel free to send us your fishing questions. We'll try to get them answered.

This report will be updated through the week to reflect the most recent fishing conditions.

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